Letters

Ques­tions and opin­ions about the mag, Linux and open source

Linux User & Developer - - Contents -

Your fi­nal batch of beau­ti­ful words

Linux 4 life

Dear LU&D, I was in­tro­duced to Linux many years ago for a game project, but just did the work on a small sys­tem and didn’t pay much at­ten­tion to it. A few years ago I started do­ing con­tract work for Google ATAP (Ad­vanced Tech­nol­ogy and Projects) that in­volved pro­to­typ­ing on the Pi, which started a whole new chap­ter in my life.

I’ve been work­ing with them ever since and it’s my favourite job, but the Linux side has taken on a life of its own. I dove in head first to learn ev­ery­thing I could about IoT de­vices/mar­ket­place and Linux has been a ma­jor part of it. I’ve been work­ing my way through the pop­u­lar IoT elec­tron­ics (MCUs, SBCs, dis­plays, sen­sors and mo­tor con­trollers and so on) by buy­ing the part, read­ing the datasheet, writ­ing cus­tom code and then pub­lish­ing it on GitHub (https://github.com/bit­bank2).

I’ve learned a ton and have come to ap­pre­ci­ate the power and sim­plic­ity of Linux. I’m able to write por­ta­ble C code that can run on any CPU from a $7 ARM board to a $3,000 lap­top. Now I’ve started to use my Linux ex­pe­ri­ence and IoT knowl­edge to ex­pand my client list and get new jobs in both soft­ware and hard­ware de­vel­op­ment.

Lau­rence Bank

Chris: Thanks, Lau­rence. Every­one’s jour­ney with Linux is dif­fer­ent and it’s ex­cit­ing to think that 25 years on from the re­lease of the Linux ker­nel, it’s com­mon­place to see peo­ple mak­ing a liv­ing from Linux in all its many, many forms. If you’ve not come across Google ATAP (https:// atap.google.com), it’s worth a look. Be­ing in­ter­ested in next-gen in­ter­faces as I am, Project Soli is par­tic­u­larly fas­ci­nat­ing as it demon­strates an in­ter­ac­tion sen­sor chip us­ing radar tech­nol­ogy. The chip is able to pick up tiny fin­ger move­ments, such as sim­u­lat­ing the turn of a dial with a fin­ger and thumb.

Fred Linux

Dear LU&D, I don’t know if any­one has men­tioned it al­ready, but I would love to learn how to make my own GNU/Linux distri­bu­tion and maybe desk­top en­vi­ron­ment in a fu­ture is­sue. Not nec­es­sar­ily writ­ing one from scratch, but cre­at­ing bootable me­dia of your cur­rent sys­tem and mak­ing it in­stal­lable.

Fred­erik Scholl

Chris: We get this re­quest quite a lot, Fred­erik. Quite a num­ber of the tools for build­ing your own Linux dis­tro have dis­ap­peared over time. (We also no­tice that OpenSUSE’s Stu­dio and Open Build Ser­vices are merg­ing to be­come OpenSUSE Ex­press and cre­at­ing quite a ma­jor up­heaval in the process.) Prob­a­bly the most pop­u­lar tool (or script) was re­mas­ter­sys, and al­though that has ceased de­vel­op­ment many years ago, a num­ber of dis­tro de­vel­op­ment teams have taken on the script and re­worked it into their own tools. We ac­tu­ally cover how to take a base Ubuntu, get the pack­ages you want and cre­ate a cus­tom ISO with Bodhi Builder (see p24). Hope­fully, that will get started down the road to get­ting up the cus­tom dis­tro you want!

X marks the X2

Dear LU&D, I read your re­view of the HP Chrome­book x2. Can you please ad­vise where one can be ob­tained in the UK? Your re­view says http://www.acer.co.uk, which surely must be a typo?

Yan­nis King­dom (via twit­ter)

Chris: Yes, we imag­ine try­ing to find an HP Chrome­book on the Acer site would be quite fruit­less... Sorry for that blooper. That comes from us­ing an old tem­plate and no one notic­ing through­out the en­tire pro­duc­tion process. The re­view of the x2 was quite an op­por­tu­nity for us as UK avail­abil­ity has been very low, but the few re­views that we’d read were glow­ing. We man­aged to get one from HP US, but be­fore we ran the re­view we re­ceived con­fir­ma­tion that the Chrome­book x2 would be avail­able in the UK as a John Lewis ex­clu­sive. How­ever, this doesn’t ap­pear to have hap­pened yet as there’s no men­tion of this par­tic­u­lar Chrome­book on the John Lewis web­site.

Above Linux and small board com­put­ers go to­gether well, and tin­ker­ing with them both can open up the prospect of a ca­reer

Above You can still use Open Build Ser­vices while it and SUSE Stu­dio are merg­ing, but Bodhi Builder is a good op­tion for Ubuntu

right Chrome­book x2s are as rare as hen’s teeth (ex­clud­ing the Talpid mu­tant chicken, of course), al­though we have been told that John Lewis has the ex­clu­sive in the UK

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